Real Life

Teen builds bridge so kids can get to school

This inspiring story brings new meaning to the saying, "build a bridge and get over it".
Mumbai teenager Eshan Balbale

Children in India were dropping out of school to avoid having to wade through a polluted stream to get to their classes every day. With the waterway posing risks of skin infections, malaria, dengue fever and other diseases, it was safer for kids in the village outside of Mumbai to stay home.

So Eshan Balbale, a 17-year-old college student, rolled up his sleeves, volunteering to build a bridge to get the children to school.

“I felt terrible when I saw the children wade through the disgusting sludge,” he says.

It took the industrious teen eight days to complete the project. No mean feat, given the bridge spans more than 30 metres!

Eshan lives in a nearby village and is encouraged by his parents, who also provide him with financial aid. He recently set up an NGO to encourage other young people to complete similar philanthropic ventures.

The principal of the local school says Eshan’s bridge has resulted in a reduction of absenteeism among students. But the youngster isn’t stopping there. He plans to build toilets for the villagers too.

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